One of the UK’s leading providers of transformational solutions in health, education and social care has partnered with Norfolk County Council to provide cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) training in order to provide stability to foster and adoption placements.
Cornerstone VR, part of the Antser Group, is being used with foster carers in Norfolk to give them a deeper understanding of the children and young people they look after by highlighting the long-term impact of adverse childhood trauma.
Every year, more than 55,000 children in England are placed into the care of a foster family, accounting for 70 per cent of children in the care system – a statistic that is not dissimilar in Norfolk.
There are currently 805 children in fostering placements in Norfolk, including agency placements, out of a total of 1,220 looked-after children in the county.
As a result, Cornerstone VR is being implemented into all foster carer and adoption journeys, in order to help reduce:
- The number of adoption breakdowns
- The number of foster care placement breakdowns
- The duration of support the adopters and kinship carers require
By using VR, viewers are immersed into real-life scenarios, enabling them to experience abuse and neglect first-hand through the eyes of a child. The films cover a wide range of topics from child sexual exploitation (CSE) and child criminal exploitation (CCE) to domestic abuse and county lines.
Serena Hadi, Cornerstone’s head of operations and practice, said: “At Cornerstone, we are committed to supporting better and more positive outcomes for children and young people, especially our most vulnerable. We’re incredibly pleased to be partnering with Norfolk County; I hope that the success of this programme can prove as a fantastic example of just how VR can be used to improve the lives of children and young people across the country.”
The training takes place in carers’ support groups as well as individual sessions to give foster parents insight into their child(ren)’s behaviour, triggers and the way they build relationships.
Social workers across Norfolk are also using Cornerstone VR’s headsets and accompanying video training to give them a fresh perspective on the young people they support.
Penny Carpenter, cabinet member for children’s services at Norfolk County Council, said: “The virtual reality training is just one of the ways we’re helping to support relationships between carers and their children and young people.
“We know fostering is both a rewarding and challenging experience and we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to support our carers, so they can provide the best care for our children.”
VR training is a powerful tool for helping foster carers and social workers to understand the lived experiences of children and young people who have experienced trauma, abuse, and neglect. By immersing them in real-life scenarios, VR can help them develop empathy and understanding, which can lead to better outcomes for the children and young people in their care.
For more information about Cornerstone VR, click here.